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U.S. Tops Denmark, 9-0, To Open 2018 World Juniors in Buffalo

12/26/2017, 8:15pm EST
By USA Hockey

Bellows and Mittelstadt each score twice, Woll makes 17 saves

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Kieffer Bellows (Edina, Minn./Portland Winterhawks) and Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn./University of Minnesota) each scored twice as the U.S. National Junior Team topped Denmark, 9-0, here tonight in its first preliminary round game of the 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship at KeyBank Center.

“This was a good team win to get us started here in the tournament,” said Bob Motzko, head coach of the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team. "We'll enjoy this win tonight, but tomorrow we move forward and turn our attention to the next task at hand.”

 Team USA (1-0-0-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) will practice tomorrow at New Era Field in preparation of its outdoor game against Canada on Friday, Dec. 29. The U.S. will then return to game action on Thursday, Dec. 28, when it faces Slovakia in its second game of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship. Puck drop is slated for 8:00 p.m. ET and tickets are on sale now here. That contest, along all U.S. games at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, will be broadcast live on NHL Network.

The U.S. opened the game with a five-goal first period. Max Jones (Rochester, Mich./London Knights) started the scoring 2:27 into the game when he cut in front of the net and beat Danish netminder Kasper Krog with a shot between the legs.

The U.S. doubled its advantage just over three minutes later when Bellows took a pass from Logan Brown (St. Louis, Mo./Windsor Spitfires) and fired a wrist shot inside the right post for a power play goal.

Mittelstadt tallied his first goal of the game at the 11:34 mark when he followed his shot to the net and tapped in his own rebound to make it 3-0 for Team USA.

Less than three minutes later, Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash./Spokane Chiefs) banked home a goal to give the U.S. a four-goal lead. The play started when Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./Boston University) collected the puck behind the net and fed the puck to Yamamoto, who was alone in front for the tap-in goal. 

Mittelstadt accounted for the final goal of the period with 1:12 remaining when he batted a pass from Patrick Harper (New Canaan, Conn./Boston University) out of the air and underneath the crossbar to give the U.S. a 5-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

At 4:08 into the second period, Bellows notched his second of the game when he converted on a penalty shot by forcing Krog side-to-side before slipping the puck between his legs and into the back of the net.

Harper made it 7-0 with half a minute remaining in the period when he snapped a shot into the top left corner.

In the final frame, the U.S. received goals from defensemen Andrew Peeke (Parkland, Fla.) and Dylan Samberg (Hermantown, Minn./University of Minnesota Duluth) to account for the 9-0 final. 

Goaltender Joseph Woll (St. Louis, Mo.) started in the U.S. and finished 17 saves in the shutout win.

NOTES: Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn./University of Minnesota) was named the U.S. Player of the Game … The U.S. outshot Denmark, 36-17, went 2-for-5 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. For complete box score, click here ... The U.S. will play in the first ever outdoor game in tournament play when it takes on Canada at New Era Field on Dec. 29, 2017. Tickets for that game, as well as all other tournament games, are available here ... Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) is serving as the general manager of Team USA for the eighth consecutive year ... Bob Motzko (St. Cloud, Minn.) is serving as head coach for the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team and joined behind the bench by assistant coaches Greg Brown (Scituate, Mass.), Grant Potulny (Grand Forks, N.D.), Kris Mayotte (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Steve Miller (Littleton, Colo.) ... USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams ... All U.S. games will be broadcast live on NHL Network.

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U.S. Schedule

Date Opponent Location Result U.S. Player of Game
Wed., Dec. 20 Belarus
Pre-Tournament Game
Northwest Arena
Jamestown, N.Y.
W, 14-0 NA
Fri., Dec. 22 Sweden
Pre-Tournament Game
Erie Insurance Arena
Erie, Pa.
W, 3-1 Na
Tues., Dec. 26 Denmark
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 9-0 Casey Mittelstadt
Thurs., Dec. 28 Slovakia
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
L, 2-3 Brady Tkachuk
Fri., Dec. 29 Canada
Preliminary Round
New Era Field*
Orchard Park, N.Y.
W (SO) 4-3 Casey Mittelstadt
Sun., Dec. 31 Finland
Preliminary Round
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 5-4 Joey Anderson
Tues., Jan. 2 Russia
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 4-2 Kieffer Bellows
Thurs., Jan. 4 Sweden
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
L, 2-4 Josh Norris
Fri., Jan. 5 Czech Republic
Bronze-Medal Game
KeyBank Center
Buffalo, N.Y.
W, 9-3 Trent Frederic

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